Production Tutorial

Producing & Engineering Low End/Sub-Bass

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21 Videos | Length: 2hr 20min 3sec
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    Multiplier discusses what he will be covering in this series.

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    What is the Sub-Bass?

    First of all, I need to establish what we mean by the words "bass" and "sub-bass". Each word refers to two different (but related) things. Sub-Bass could be the instrument, or the frequency range. I give some examples, and share how I most commonly use the words.

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    Headphones or Monitors?

    When working on sub-bass/low end, what should we use to listen? Headphones or monitors? Why? I suggest some tests you need to run. They'll confirm your understanding of this, and give you a better understanding of how your headphones/DAC/etc reproduces low end. You also need to learn about the imperfections inherent in your setup.

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    Pitch, Frequencies, & Harmonics

    Learn about pitch, frequencies, harmonics, and the "fundamental". This is critical for understanding the rest of this course. See the difference between a bass pitch, and the bass frequency range (answering the question: what is a sub-bass... the fundamental of the bass). And finally, what is the lowest note we can use?

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    How to Create the Harmonics

    Why do we need harmonics? Explore a range of options for creating them. This includes drawing in harmonics with Serum or Operator, choosing the cycle with the harmonics we like using wavetable synthesis, as well as distortion and post-filtering. I also give a quick example of how you can layer texture over the top too.

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    Layering Low Frequencies

    Explore the MOST important concept in this course, the idea that you shouldn't layer low frequencies, because they interact with each other in unhelpful ways. I illustrate the theory, and then apply this to a practical example, layering 808 tails. Then, I show how unpredictable this is. Finally, I show what this looks like in synths, "monophony".

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    Mono Sub-Bass

    Should you make the sub-bass mono? Why? Spoiler, it's because lots of systems sum these frequencies to mono, and when you do, you are essentially layering the left and right channels. This "layering" is a problem (as explained previously). Also, most spectrum analyzers sum to mono too. And how do you actually make the sub-bass mono? (in Ableton, and also using a plug-in that works in other DAWs).

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    Adding Reverb & Other Effects

    Is it ever OK to add time-based effects like chorus, delay or reverb to the sub-bass? If not, why? Clue, it's about layering again. I demonstrate on a practical example, where reverb caused a big issue with the sub-bass. This example is using reverb, but the logic applies to those other time-based effects (e.g. delay) too.

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    When You Need to Use a High-Pass Filter

    Following on from the previous video, what do you do if you have a rumbly sub-bass, and can't go back to fix it at source? (e.g. that reverb example). You high pass filter it, and try to carefully add it back in clean. Importantly, make sure you add in the correct note, including pitch bends, and don't distort (all you need is a sine wave). I also included a trick to work out what notes and pitch bends may be in the original sound!

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    High-Pass Filter Everything

    We high pass filter nearly everything, everything that doesn't creatively need the sub-bass frequencies (so usually, everything apart from the kick and bass). I show why. Spoiler, it's about layering again, and how to set the cutoff value for it.

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    Clicks & How to Remove Them

    What are clicks? Why do they exist? And how do we remove them? I establish the principle behind it using audio clips, and then show how this theory applies in a synth, using ADSR envelopes. Finally, I ask the question, "in a mix, do clicks even matter?"

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    Reducing Clicks Using Oscillator Phase

    This is an extension from the previous video. Learn how you can dial in oscillator "phase", to reduce clicks, without having to soften attack and release as much. Quite naturally, I first of all explain and demonstrate what oscillator "phase" actually is.

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    The Problem with EQ & Low-Pass Filtering

    Let me snow how you why you shouldn't EQ or low pass filter sub-bass unnecessarily, as it'll create layering issues I bet you didn't know about! If you NEED to EQ like this, you'll at least know now what to check for, to avoid issues. EQ does more than just change the balance of frequencies, it changes frequencies in time too!

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    Choosing a Clean Synth for Sine Waves

    Different synths create different sine waves. Some are cleaner than others. It's not a huge deal, but something worth knowing about and checking. Let me show you how.

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    DC Offset & How to Remove It

    DC Offset. What is it? Why is it a problem? And how do we fix it? And when fixing it, what do we need to look out for?

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    Checking That the Sub-Bass is Working

    It’s important to check the sub-bass in your final master, by listening through a steep low pass filter, and comparing to other tracks in your genre. Are they similar? Is the rhythm, melody, arrangement, etc. translating through just these frequencies?

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    The Purpose of Sub-Bass

    What’s the purpose of sub-bass? Two ideas in this video. The first is somewhat ‘obvious’ (its weight and energy give the track more emotion/energy/etc.) The second is that the sub-bass always SUPPORTS a main purpose of the track (rhythm, emotion, aggression, etc.) It shouldn’t tell its own story, as half the listeners won’t hear it!

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    How to Set Sub-Bass Level

    See how to set the level of the sub-bass. Take the guesswork out of it, and do it by eye. Analyze a range of tracks in your genre of choice, to see what the acceptable range is.

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    Layering a Sub-Bass Under a Melody

    Discover how to layer a sub-bass under a melody (it's nice and easy). Also, a discussion on what part of the frequency range you want to try and get your sub-bass notes to sit in.

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    Chords, Unison, & Tightening Up the Sub-Bass

    If the lowest notes of a chord are low enough to be sub-bass, we don't want them to be in "unison" (as that makes them wide and unpredictable). But what if we want the chord to sound like it's in unison? The answer is to split the chord up, and play the lowest notes in unison 1, and the higher notes in full unison. This tightens up the sub-bass, as we can carefully create it, being perfectly precise. The final example doesn't involve chords, but shares a similar spirit, just in a sound design (Serum) context.

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    Tightening Up the Sub-Bass in Serum

    This final example involves a few interesting ideas. One we've seen before (removing the fundamental from an existing oscillator in Serum, then adding it back in clean and precise using a different oscillator), and the other is how we can use a bass' defining modulation, to modulate sub level too, making it sound more coherent.

Product Overview

Adam Pollard presents Low End and Sub-Bass tutorials! Learn how to produce and engineer proper low end and sub-bass for your tracks and productions, creating impact and power. These sub bass production videos are designed to help you create a great bottom end for your songs, giving them a fat, tight sound.

Adam welcomes you and first talks about the differences between Low End and Sub-Bass, then how to properly monitor the bass and make adjustments, helpful info on Pitch, Frequencies, and Harmonics, why layering bass isn't always a good idea, making bass a mono signal, adding reverb to bass and other topics related to the low end.

Next, Adam gets into tons of cool techniques like High Pass Filtering and ways to use it effectively but not destructively, creative ways to remove clicks from your tracks, using Sine Waves for bass, splitting your chords up and playing the lowest notes in unison for a higher sound, and much, much more.

To know what each low end sub-bass tutorial shows you and how they will assist you to mix your bass better, see the individual low end sub bass tutorial descriptions on this page. If your low end is suffering, this series of low end sub bass videos will get your bass right and tight... Watch “Producing & Engineering Low End/Sub-Bass” today.

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Producing & Engineering Low End/Sub-Bass is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 18 .
Rated 4.0 out of 5 by from Was very interested. It got a bit geeky. Curiously I found this most interesting and learnt a lot. Recommended for anyone planning to mess with bass regardless of genre. Thank you Started very interestingly. It got a bit geeky. Curiously I found this most interesting and learnt a lot. Recommended for anyone planning to mess with bass regardless of genre. Thank you
Date published: 2021-04-29
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from very helpful! Great examples and references on how to manage and edit lowend and sub-bass
Date published: 2020-12-17
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Thanks for the helpful tutorials! Thanks for recording! :)
Date published: 2020-05-15
Rated 3.0 out of 5 by from Nice but very slow and repetative I skipped through all videos quite drastically. So much repetition and useless talk going on.
Date published: 2020-05-02
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from This is more than awesome!!! I simply loved this course really great insight into this subject. And in one word this is just gold!!
Date published: 2020-04-13
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Great insights It helps a lot figuring out what is happening in the low end! 100% useful to production.
Date published: 2020-03-21
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Nice one! Some important 'fundamental' tips in here
Date published: 2020-02-26
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Really nice! Cool tipps and well described:)
Date published: 2020-02-04
Rated 4.0 out of 5 by from Nice, but repetitive. Being slightly advanced, I am happy for the tutorial, but don’t understand why some banal information should be spread over such long time. Had to click thru the videos several times.
Date published: 2020-01-31
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Very helpful Learned things I did not know about sub-bass. Good course. Recommended.
Date published: 2019-12-15
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Shows concepts that need to be shown I find as normal by Multiplier he clearly demonstrates concepts that are hard to see. I like the examples albeit I am not into sound shaping as such. To understand what is going on is important.
Date published: 2019-11-13
Rated 4.5 out of 5 by from really useful A good look at low bass issues
Date published: 2019-10-27
Rated 3.5 out of 5 by from Very helpful, though can be frustratingly slow/repetitive if you're experienced. This is a great and highly useful course talking about one of the most difficult things about mixing. My only complaint is that sometimes he goes on way too long with something, or says basically the same thing over and over again which can be frustrating if you're experienced. Many times he could explain things in a much shorter time and get the exact same point across.
Date published: 2019-08-14
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Essential Some gems in here
Date published: 2019-08-02
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from This is a "Must-Have". This guy is incredible; I want to watch all of his tutorials.
Date published: 2019-08-01
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from What I Was Looking For I learned an awful lot with this one :)
Date published: 2019-07-18
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Multiply your knowledge Helpful instruction, with clear explanations and good examples. Thanks, Multiplier!
Date published: 2019-07-12
Rated 5.0 out of 5 by from Get That Sub Bass right!!! Crucial Tutorial!! Once again thank you Multiplier!!!
Date published: 2019-07-08
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